Feeling overwhelmed as restrictions lift and life slowly starts getting back to normal? Mental health can be such a taboo but it’s time we practice some self care, treating ourselves to the things we love and prioritising a bit more ‘me time’!
Starting off as ITN’s youngest television presenter to becoming a successful British entrepreneur co-founder of Pop & Suki, Poppy Jamie, has recently built a hugely successful mindfulness app Happy, Not perfect. Poppy launched the app as a personal project combining her real life experiences and years of scientific research, aiming to help people relax their minds, process their thoughts in a supportive environment.
We chatted to Poppy to learn more about her story and get some top tips to manage mental health. Here is what she had to say…
Why has mental health become so important to you?
Mental health has always been important to me because it’s a part of my family. I grew with my mother as a psychotherapist and father struggled from mental illness in the form of crippling anxiety and chronic stress. From a young age, I learned that mental health is the most important health we have because it affects our experience of life in a discreet but overpowering way. When anxiety takes over, the entire world seems like a different place to when you feel free, at peace and in harmony with yourself.
Mental health became my mission at the age of 26 when I realised how inaccessible mental health resources were. I decided to democratise psychotherapeutic tools by building the happy not perfect app and taking the science of happiness and turning it into a game that users could play daily.
Tell us about your journey in starting up your business, Happy, Not Perfect
Well, no business is easy!! My road into entrepreneurship has been very rocky and at times I contemplated leaving it completely. Entrepreneurship is relentless and it challenged my compromised mental health more than I ever imagined. But even in the difficult moments, I was so grateful for the opportunity to build something I imagined. Also, my reason to start this business was to serve a greater purpose than myself, and this made all the challenges easier. I knew the bumps I was facing were worth it, as they meant I was able to carry on creating tools to help other minds.
I wake up every day to try and ensure anyone and everyone can understand their mind better and has access to tools that support their mental health.
When I was first designing the happiness workout on the happy not perfect app, I worked alongside some of the world’s leading neuroscientists and psychologists to ensure we were using the latest research. I was in LA at the time and the world of mental health was very different to what it looks like now. I was very fortunate I had so many people advising because they cared just as much as me.
What do you do day-to-day to manage your mental health?
The FLEX method that I outline in my book is my daily go-to.
The first step involves upgrading my energy and connecting to myself. To do this I dance to my favourite song every morning for 5 minutes. I may look like a chicken, but I don’t mind, it is critical for my physical and mental energy. Healthy thoughts require energy, so my sleep, nutrition, hydration, and relaxation are key daily elements that support that.
Our mental health is impacted by the content we consume to. If I am only reading the news, the chances are my anxiety and stress increases with negative headlines bombarding my psyche. I consciously monitor my intake of news and instead allocate time for a facemask and a podcast like Oprah’s or the Huberman Lab to learn and be inspired. (My favourite face-mask is Erno Laszlo’s famous PINK MASK – the vitality treatment mask!
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness means flexibility! Often wellness has turned into another unattainable ideal rooting in perfection but for me, when we are flexible, we become whole. We can accept uncomfortable emotions, we can accept challenges, because we have the confidence to turn setbacks into opportunities for growth and compassion.
What advice would you give people dealing with stress and anxiety, especially as restrictions lift?
To pause. Rome wasn’t build in the day and it’s ok to slow down. Everything is manageable when we take a deep breath and take things slowly. In my book, I share tools to help you release any fear you might have for the future, and unlock yourself from past narratives that inform future fears. The one thing I will add here that I repeat through out my book is to double down on curiosity. Our thoughts are rarely facts so practice the habit of questioning your fears. Your ego LOVES to tell you all the things that could go wrong, but why not focus on all the things that could go right?
Try this affirmation to practice: I expect the unexpected.
Social media is renowned for damaging peoples mental health, what are your tips to help people use social media in a positive way?
- Limit your time
- Only follow people and accounts that make you feel good
- Remember that external validation is an illusion and a “like” doesn’t mean anything and a “no like” also means nothing
- Comparison is the thief of all joy and this is such an important point to remember daily when online. We are often caught off guard on social media and leave wondering why everyone is having an easier life compared to us. Everyone faces the same insecurities and challenges, they just arrive in different packages. Constantly remind yourself how WELL you are doing and that no individual is comparable to another.
What advice would you give those aspiring to start their own businesses?
Get a good team!!! Teammates are the route to success, you can’t do everything yourself. Surround yourself with people who are better.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time which helps you switch off?
Running, dancing and seeing friends. I love my friends so much and we really have a great giggle. Laughter is often the best therapy and a good chat with a friend can change your world!
Which restaurants in London were you most excited to head back to?